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Published on June 10th, 2009 | by Arsalan Mir


Voice over Bandwidth of ISP's and DSL Operators — Illegal

It was a total surprise for me when I came to know that as per PTA (Pakistan Telecommunication Authority) Act (laws and regulations) voice traffic over bandwidth of ISP’s and DSL operators is illegal. This Public Information Bulletin of PTA confirms it. The information bulletin also terms such voice traffic as “grey traffic”, traffic which is illegal.

So, in the recent meeting on the issue of Grey Traffic held at PTA Headquarters, PTA has directed all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to ensure that their networks are not used for illegal call/voice termination and such cases of grey telephony are brought into the notice of PTA immediately.

Does this mean NO Voice Chat on Broadband ? No Skype?. I think PTA should reconsider on this move and make necessary amendments in its Act to facilitate services for home users.

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About the Author

is a Telecom enthusiast with engineering background based in Lahore. On professional front, he is the Director Operations at the Target Group. He can be reached at arsalan (at) telecompk (dot) net

13 Responses to Voice over Bandwidth of ISP's and DSL Operators — Illegal

  1. Amir says:

    hello Irfan

    what is the new technology and how can we run setup?

  2. irfan says:

    Hi All,

    Kindly contact me if you want to run your own VOIP exchange…2000 USD per gateway will be charged.Not possible to stop grey temination because new and new technology is arising…..come and terminate illegal traffic….termaination zindabaad….zardarii ki hukoomat hay…..mazay kar loo….

  3. ICT says:

    I understand that VoIP should not be allowed but in actual the organisations using it like UN agencies, Embassies, Consulates & High Comissions are using these & many other services like VHF, HF Radio & VSat (free from any restriction links) to other sites out of Pakistan.

    As the cyber policy states even if any encryption is used it has to be provided to the authorities if needed.

    As a rule policies are not that bad , but they are badly applied & well even worse regulated due to corruption , etc in Pakistan.

    Its needed for PTA to be a autonomous body which can follow hte laws in place & make sure there are no exemptions to the rule.

    Even if we’re told that diplomatic missions have immunity, well,
    incidently our own diplomatic (Pakistani) missions in US & European union have to abide by the very same rules (that PTA is trying to implimnet), funny huh?

  4. Babar Bhatti says:

    Here’s the letter from Siraj Wahaj who heads ISPAK.

    No. 2(3)/2007-ISPAK
    15 June 2009

    Mr. Kamran Ali
    Director General
    (Law & Regulations)
    Pakistan Telecommunication Authority

    Subject Voice over bandwidth of ISPs

    Dear Sir,

    With reference to your letter No. 14-1/L&R/PTA/771 dated 4 June 2009 to all ISPs, we’d like to submit as under:

    ISPs have no mechanism to detect VoIP on customer’s circuits. PTA has invested a huge amount of operators contribution for installation of such a facility and this matter has therefore to be tackled by PTA itself.

    ISPs can install the VoIP monitoring and mitigating facility if PTA provides funding for such a facility as the industry is already in debt due to selling below the costs and anti competitive practices of the incumbent, i.e., PTCL. These practices have so far gone unchecked by the regulator due to non-regulation of broadband Internet tariffs.

    ISPs cannot take any action against any customer doing illegal VoIP as they don’t have statutory powers to do so. If PTA informs of illegal activity done by any customer to the concerned ISP, the ISPs’ action can only be limited to locking of that customer’s account and providing customer details PTA.

    Due to PTA’s indiscriminatory blocking the IP addresses on Internet gateways without any notification and evidence, ISPs have been greatly suffering and that has been brought to the notice of PTA many times in recent past.

    PTA needs to clarify that if a customer of an ISP is supposedly involved in illegal VoIP, how ISP can be held responsible for such matter?

    2. In view of above, we’d request you to kindly withdraw the above mentioned letter.

    With kind regards.

    Yours truly,

    Wahaj us Siraj

  5. Izhar Cheema says:

    No! The traffic PTA talks about is purely the VOIP termination on phone numbers from – to Pakistan.

    However other voice chat or skype shouldn’t have an issue. However with skype when you make international calls you might be breaking a law.

    However these laws were put in place to safegaurd the interest of local LDI operators who paid the fortune to obtain the Licenses.

    On the other hand I think its a bit harsh to hurt the end user. Lately they doubled the termination rates for Pakistan, which ultimately affected the end user and gave strength to the corporate bodies.

    But one can come up with the rebuttal here that, to protect the local economy and jobs you got to make sure that the corporates are in strong position as well.

  6. Arsalan Mir says:

    @ Ghazi Salahuddin
    Thanks for these clarifications!. These were necessary to make the picture clear in front of the consumers.

  7. Dear All,

    As per this public notice, the PTA is partially right as per his role to stop grey traffic. As per license of ISP or DSL operator, the provided bandwidth cant be used for international voice termination. The major focus of PTA is in terms of operators not for normal subscribers. This is not applied to home users and home users can still have right to make calls through internet bandwidth on personal basis.

    I have personally attended meeting with PTA, so dont worry and enjoy voice chat…………..

  8. Gull Nawaz says:

    don’t worry its only about VOIP services providers and developers not about chatting
    it is due to restrict illegal gateways

  9. Arsalan Mir says:

    @ Tarzen…
    The letter is dated 4th June 2009.
    It could be possible the way you have seen it that it s for the companies or developers, that are into providing VOIP services like online call services, or providing VOIP services through dialling cards on your local telephones.

    PTA should come forward and give clear guide lines on this issue.

  10. Tarzen says:

    That was last updated on Sunday, 18 February 2007, and the link is product developers” . If that was about the voice chat services, then it would have been terminated by now :) . As far as I have seen this, it is for the companies or developers, that are into providing VOIP services like online call services, or providing VOIP services through dialling cards on your local telephones. As you can see, VOIP is using the internet service. So these type of services are been restricted. And now, only telecommunication sector is providing such services like PTCL, and mobile service provider companies like Mobilink, WARID, ZONG and others. As they have license from PTA to provide such. PTA has restricted those that were providing illegally, like any local company/developer/person by using the services from any DSL/Broadband/ISP. It may also include the ISPs in the past.

  11. Ifrahim says:

    I was surprised to hear that as well. I think the announcement was made in a haste without giving much clarity which will lead to chaos. I agree that, VOIP for personal use is okay, but you can not run your own exchange and provide interconnect.

  12. Pingback: Voice over Bandwidth of ISP’s and DSL Operators — Illegal | Tea Break

  13. My question then is, is PTA as a regulatory body supposed to act in the best interest of the end consumers, or protect the corporate bodies? Should it not be regulating and making the service providers work to facilitate the home and corporate user in receiving quality services at a reasonable cost, and not be fleeced? Then why is the PTA once again talking about blocking “illegal” voice traffic?

    There is no such thing as illegal voice traffic as long as the calls are not made to terminate to a normal telephone line or a mobile phone without the intervention of the licensed operator. And since this is not happening anywhere, there is no ground for such ridiculous statement from the so-called educated and aware people at the PTA.

    They should get out of their old and corrupt shells and see things more realistically and in favour of those whom it is working for not, for its own pockets.

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